Content over method

November 2, 2006

Simon Blackburn's fascinating article (Features, October 20) on "trust" raises many interesting questions about education and learning, the fashion for experiential learning being just one of them.

Given that Blackburn suggests that we accept virtually all we learn on trust, the use of experiential learning in adult and higher education seems misplaced, even indulgent.

There has been an honourable tradition within the field of adult education that has taken issue with this current trend. Andragogy, self-directed learning, facilitation and action research all have their place. But so does old-fashioned teaching.

An overemphasis on technique and method needs to be challenged. Content and purpose remain primary, despite current fashions. As to how these current pedagog-ical fashions have achieved their hegemony, Blackburn's injunction to ask the question, " cui bono? ", seems entirely appropriate.

John Kimberley
University of Central England

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